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Now They're Patenting Medical Facts? - Oh, Brother
Monday, March 28 2005 @ 10:54 PM EST

Here's another alarming patent to add to our collection, brought to our attention by the following press release from PubPat.

While we are on the subject of patents, here's how the patent game is played.

****************************

PUBPAT ARGUES AGAINST PATENTING OF MEDICAL FACTS: Urges Solicitor General to Do Same in Appeal Pending at Supreme Court

NEW YORK -- The Public Patent Foundation ("PUBPAT") released a position statement today arguing against the issuance of patents on medical facts that prevent doctors from using those facts to treat their patients or discuss those facts with colleagues.

The issue stems from a case that involves a patent granted by the U.S. Patent Office on diagnosing B12 or folic acid deficiency, which can cause serious human illnesses such as cancer and vascular disease, simply by knowing if a patient has an elevated homocysteine level. It is a matter of natural biology that whether someone has a B12 or folic acid insufficiency is related to whether they have a high level of homocysteine, because homocysteine is an amino acid metabolized by B12 and folic acid. Lower courts ruled that doctors who use or discuss the relationship between B12 or folic acid and homocysteine committed illegal patent infringement and the Supreme Court is now deciding whether to hear an appeal of the case.

"This result is not only perverse public policy placing the rights of patent holders above the rights of doctors to perform medical diagnosis and discuss a natural biological relationship but it also violates patent law, which mandates that only processes, machines, manufactures, and compositions of matter are eligible for patent protection," states PUBPAT's position statement titled, Supreme Court Should Protect Medical Facts and the Right of Doctors to Use and Discuss Them From Patents. "The public, including specifically those wishing to use and learn from laws of biology, is significantly harmed by a failure to maintain the limits on patent eligibility because patents can and often do prevent important medical treatment and scientific research."

In addition to publishing its position statement, PUBPAT also expressed its views in a letter to the Acting U.S. Solicitor General who was invited by the Supreme Court last month to address the issue before it decides whether to hear an appeal of the case. Since the Supreme Court raised this issue after the time for briefing had expired, PUBPAT was barred from expressing its views directly to the court. As such, PUBPAT provided its perspective to the Acting Solicitor General who will be submitting a brief on the issue to the court in the near future.

"If the patent is not ruled invalid, it will continue to pose a threat to doctors wishing to diagnose whether their patients have a B12 or folic acid deficiency by measuring their homocysteine level [and it] will also prevent scientists from discussing the biological relationship between B12 or folic acid and homocysteine for any purpose, including research," said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT's Executive Director, in his letter urging the Solicitor General to adopt the view that the Supreme Court should hear an appeal of the case and rule the patent invalid. "Above and beyond harming public health, this result is entirely contrary to the basis for the patent system, which is the belief that society benefits when knowledge is disseminated and discussed."

More information about PUBPAT's argument against the patenting of medical facts, including copies of PUBPAT's position statement and letter to the Acting Solicitor General, can be found at http://www.pubpat.org/Educating_and_Advocating.htm.


  


Now They're Patenting Medical Facts? - Oh, Brother | 139 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
OT Off topic here...
Authored by: LarryVance on Monday, March 28 2005 @ 11:03 PM EST
Put it here.

---
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE YOUR INFLUENCE!
Larry Vance

[ Reply to This | # ]

On balance...
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 28 2005 @ 11:09 PM EST
If I was asked to choose whether to allow software patents or patents on medical
facts, I'd have to go with software patents.

The patent being discussed here sounds analogous to patenting pi as the
relationship between a circle's diameter and its circimference.

Which in turn, sounds like patenting a mathematical equation.

Which is not too far from software.

Oh bugger! It's just a software patent on the human body!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Holy Smokes.....
Authored by: mobrien_12 on Monday, March 28 2005 @ 11:21 PM EST
This is just so stupid I'm at a loss for words..... I knew the patent system was
bad... but something like this makes me think it's completely beyond repair.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Shooting from the hip, but
Authored by: chaz_paw on Monday, March 28 2005 @ 11:25 PM EST
this is, at first glance, an obvious example of why the US patent system is
broken. What's next?

---
Proud SuSE user since 07/26/04

Charles

[ Reply to This | # ]

Now They're Patenting Medical Facts? - Oh, Brother
Authored by: Nick Bridge on Monday, March 28 2005 @ 11:27 PM EST
"See! We told you so!"

[ Reply to This | # ]

Now They're Patenting Medical Facts? - Oh, Brother
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 28 2005 @ 11:30 PM EST
To make link function correctly in Firefox, please remove extraneous period at
end of sentence.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What if....
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 28 2005 @ 11:45 PM EST
...Haydn had patentend the symphony and/or the string quartet in the form we
know it today?
Mozart would have had to buy a license to write any of his 30-odd works in that
genre (something highly unlikely given his cronic pecuniary difficulties). And
forget any subsequent derivative works from the likes of Beethoven and Brahms.
Had Bach patented his tempered tuning and demanded licenses from anybody who
employed it, Haydn would most likely have been an unknown street performer of
folk tunes in lower Bohemia.
The scientific community bases its work on the findings of others for the
greater good of humanity (most of the time).
To think that software is somehow above and beyond music and science and that
patents on software actually fosters innovation is absurd. I wonder when the
policymakers wake up to that fact...

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • What if.... - Authored by: Wol on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:12 AM EST
  • What if.... - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 12:07 PM EST
Patents vs Free Speech
Authored by: FreeChief on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 12:06 AM EST
Lower courts ruled that doctors who use or discuss the relationship between B12 or folic acid and homocysteine committed illegal patent infringement
Can this be true? I thought a valid patent on an invention prevented anyone else from building the invention, but how can it prevent others from discussing the invention.

The patent sounds bogus, because you can not patent a law of nature, but the interpretation attributed to the lower court violates not just patent law, but the First Amendment.

--Programmer in Chief

[ Reply to This | # ]

This gives a whole new meaning...
Authored by: inode_buddha on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 12:20 AM EST
This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "Bread and circuses".
(Hint: read the nutrition information on your loaf of bread.)

On a more serious note, does anyone seriously expect anyone to honor medical
patents, regardless of the law? You gotta be kidding. I can understand patenting
medical *devices*, but I'm really not sure about *natural processes*.

---
-inode_buddha
Copyright info in bio

"When we speak of free software,
we are referring to freedom, not price"
-- Richard M. Stallman

[ Reply to This | # ]

Patenting Genes
Authored by: davcefai on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 12:22 AM EST
How about the patenting of genes? A number of companies have been granted
patents on human genes, because they have sequenced them.

I'm expecting a demand for licence fees on my genes soon. maybe the bloodsuckers
can team up with SCO so that they can save on postage etc by combining demands.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Criminal prosecution?
Authored by: LocoYokel on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 12:45 AM EST
IMO this should not only be declared invalid but the people who filed this
patent and the examiner who granted it should be liable for prosecution. This
DIRECTLY affects in a negative (and possibly fatal?) way the health of people
suffering from a medical disorder. This is different from a drug patent where
you are protecting a compound you have spent time and money developing (and for
which there are probably some type of substitutes) in that you are making it
illegal to even discuss (or teach) a specific, normal process of the human body
resulting in people being denied treatment for this condition. This patent is
directly analogous to making it illegal to treat starvation by giving the people
food since this is a form of malnutrition which is itself a specific, narrow
type of starvation.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Not the only one.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 01:08 AM EST
This is not the only example of this. There is a similar one in patent# 6,040,147. Abstract says
The invention involves methods for characterizing an individual's risk profile of developing a future cardiovascular disorder by obtaining a level of the marker of systemic inflammation in the individual.
Note, this is not a new test, just a patent on a method of saying if this person's CRP level is over this amount, they have a higher risk of heart attack.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • CRP - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:23 AM EST
The Future in Now...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 01:11 AM EST

My thought about the future , if the Law of Gravity were discovered today, the
formula would be patented, and you could not teach it without a license. Thank
god I'm in my 50's by the time the IP lobby is through they will figure out a
way(read that as legal looophole) to own all the new important knowledge that
the next generation will need to be taught in school.


"If we continue with the distortion of the meaning of invention, we do not
know where we will end up. I wonder how many of you have heard of Mr Moore of
the United States of America whose liver has been patented. He went to the
hospital. They took out a piece of his liver and they cultured it. They patented
it. He claimed that they could not patent his liver, because it was his own. I
am told that the judge said that since it is outside of him it is not his and it
can be patented, i.e. it is invented. But that piece of liver is the same
whether inside or outside Mr Moore. The judge did not dare say that that part
inside him is also invented. But how long will it take for the continuing
distortion of inventing to accept that the piece of liver inside him is the same
as that outside him, and that, therefore, it is the patent holder's invention?
Suppose I buy the patent on Mr Moore's liver, and suppose I also patent his
blood in a similar manner, and I want my liver out of him in the style of
Shylock. Even Shakespeare's defence of not allowing me to spill blood would not
prevent me. I will spill my blood and take my liver, and I will still walk away,
possibly claiming my royalties on your use of my Brussels! - (Third World
Resurgence No. 106, June 1999)"
http://www.twnside.org.sg/title/egz1-cn.htm

[ Reply to This | # ]

    What happened to that contract law about Absurd Result?
    Authored by: kawabago on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 01:43 AM EST
    Patents are supposed to promote progress in the useful arts. Using patents to
    prevent Dr.'s from discussing body functions should be unconstitional on the
    grounds that it hinders progress. I think maybe it's time to create a new type
    of intellectual property that better fits the technology we have now. Patents,
    as they exist today, just don't work properly.

    ---
    Life is funnier from the far end.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Could it be???
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 01:55 AM EST
    That April 1st is coming a little early this year?
    I can't seem to find mention of the actual patent number and usually such issues
    are intrinsic to the discussion.
    Seems a might fishy!
    And too, I would suspect that something this blatant would have garnered at
    least a little notice in our public media.
    Notice that is conspicuous by it's absence.

    Now maybe Im simply overly suspicious at this time of year, but Im betting on
    an April Fool rather then even or justice system being THIS dense.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    • Could it be??? - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:34 AM EST
    Wait...
    Authored by: Khym Chanur on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:41 AM EST
    If this was upheld, wouldn't that mean that the US Patent Office is itself
    violating patent law by making patents available to anyone who wants one?

    ---
    Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and
    he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Paraphrased from Terry Pratchett)

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Patent 6,605,646
    Authored by: Duster on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 02:50 AM EST
    A google search indicates that the patent in question appears to be Patent
    6,605,646 and was granted as indicated below. Note that it is NOTHING more than
    a vitamin supplement. Also note the date. From further research, the only
    prominent Dr. Victor D. Herbert I could find was indeed concerned witrh
    nutrition, and health related frauds, cons and hustles. He died November 19,
    2002. Compare that date with the patent application date. Dr. Herbert also
    listed a "J.D." after his name in addition to the M.D.

    Title: Vitamin supplement composition
    United States Patent: 6,605,646
    Issued: August 12, 2003
    Inventors: Herbert; Victor D. (New York, NY)
    Assignee: Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc. (Minneapolis, MN)
    Appl. No.: 215421
    Filed: August 9, 2002

    Perusing the text of the patent, the key distinction is not the use of B12 and
    folic acid, but a specialized, "antioxidant free" composition of
    these. According to the description, the presence of anitoxidants and iron,
    will tend to weaken or deactivate B12 and folic acid. What that means in the
    short form is that the handful of blueberries (antioxidants) with the
    multivitamins you take at breakfast is contraindicated, as is spaghetti sauce
    cooked in a cast iron pan.

    Since Dr. Herbert actually published a great deal of this over a long career,
    the patent application seems a little odd. From the USPTO page, the patent
    appears to be the successor to a series of attempts starting in 1999 - I think.


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Legal Conflict?
    Authored by: sproggit on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:03 AM EST
    This is a truly frightening situation to contemplate.

    However, it does raise a question in my mind that I'd like to ask one of our Legal specialists to venture an opinion on, if they would be so kind.

    Suppose we have a situation in which a patient in a US medical centre comes in suffering from a major trauma and which requires a particular technique [say use of equipment and a method - think defibrilator and heart massage, for example] in order to revive them.

    Now suppose that this technique has been patented and the doctor is not a licensee of the patent.

    If the doctor uses the technique and the patient lives, then the patent holder would presumably have recourse through the court to sue the doctor for patent infringement.

    If the doctor struggles with inappropriate and/or inadequate techniques and the patient dies, would the [now] deceased patient's family have the right to sue, rightly knowing that the doctor failed to do "all that they could" in order to keep their loved one alive?

    The reasoning surrounding the actions of the USPTO seem to me [at least superficially and at a first glance] to conflict with the medical oaths sworn by US doctors.

    OK, let's get really silly. Suppose that a descendant of the First US President takes out a Patent on the "Signing of US Law". They can claim prior art. They can demonstrate a method and process. There is output - a legally signed document. So if this absurdity is allowed to continue [and accepting the time limitations of patents] would this mean that in theory all new US laws brought into effect could be charged royalties commensurate with the service provided?

    How wonderful [not]. The US legislature could be held to ransom by a descendant of the first US President.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    • Legal Conflict? - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 01:38 PM EST
    Now They're Patenting Medical Facts? - Oh, Brother
    Authored by: micheal on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:45 AM EST
    "Since the Supreme Court raised this issue after the time for briefing had expired,..."

    Sounds like our (USA) version of the EU Council. I.e., use procedure to do what you want. Use procedure to prevent people from doing what they should be allowed to do!

    ---
    LeRoy -
    What a wonderful day.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Now They're Patenting Medical Facts? - Oh, Brother
    Authored by: micheal on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:53 AM EST
    I once read a book on aledged paranormal events. My conclusion was that even if
    there were some valid paranormal events one would never know because of the
    shear mount of fraud, misinterpretations, methodological errors, wishful
    thinking, etc.

    I have come to the conclusion that there may be some valid patents, but one
    would never know because ... (see previous sentence).

    ---
    LeRoy -
    What a wonderful day.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Major Alert in this item !.
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:03 AM EST

    There is not much that I can add to prior posts other than to support the notion
    that this is an outstanding example of patenting 'out of control' and indicative
    of a disease in the world of patenting.

    I will actively support any efforts to reform this type of madness, but
    especially software patenting, an area of technology I am more familiar with.

    PJ, keep up the good work on bringing these anomalies to the world's attention.
    This is a just and right cause.

    Doug Marker

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    About inmersion and Sony
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:17 AM EST
    Interestingly, Sony competes against microsoft XBox, and it seems microsoft took
    a license from inmersion (something similar to the license they took from SCO)
    that has allowed inmersion to go on with the case.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Ok here's what we have to do... open source medical knowledge
    Authored by: NemesisNL on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:22 AM EST
    Is there an open source lawyer willing to draft a declaration. We need a
    declaration that has to be signed by hospitals on behalf of their staff and any
    third party contractors that no samples taken ,by them, from me can be used in a
    proces that would lead to something patentable unless I provide explicit
    aproval. Any knowledge obtained by researching these samples have to be provided
    to me, and the mediacal community. Use of such knwoledge should only be possible
    under these terms. Open Source medical knowledge in short. Knowledge should be
    open source by nature but if it isn't we could force it to be in this fashion.
    If everyone would demand this, medical patents like the one described here would
    become impossible no matter what the greedy shareholders and scrupulous
    companies out there come up with.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Now They're Patenting Medical Facts? - Oh, Brother
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 06:04 AM EST
    So this isn't an early April Fools joke... ; ;

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Links to the Case and Patent
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 06:19 AM EST

    Findlaw has a much better info about the case. It is available here

    The actual US Patent in question is U.S. Patent No. 4,940,658. The text of which can be found here

    The patent looks to be basically a medical test; i.e. a method to detect elvated(or not) levels of something in a sample(from a warm-blooded creature).

    The "beef" between LabCorp and Metabolite(patent holder) looks like it can be boiled down to LabCorp stopped using Metabolite test(and stopped paying royalities for it) and started using a competitor's test.

    My non-lawyer eyes had a hard time finding where a biological fact was being patented or claiming to be patented.

    True the patent was using biological facts(new discoveries, even) to explain what the test did and what it was for. And injuction looked to only applied to LabCorp(a lab that processes medical tests, i.e. the place where dotors send your bio-samples to be tested).

    Not to cut on PJ or PubPat but this case seems over-hyped and the issue ill explained. If you're looking for mis-application of patents and biology you only need to look at Monsanto. Hint: pollen or seeds from Monsanto GM crops drifts into your field, you're now a patent infringer and owe royalities to Monsanto.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Is PubPat actually being serious?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 07:14 AM EST
    The Public Patent Foundation ("PUBPAT") released a position statement today arguing against the issuance of patents on medical facts that prevent doctors from using those facts to treat their patients or discuss those facts with colleagues.

    Was this PubPat press release sent out a little early? Was it actually intended for release on April 1 (April Fool's Day)?

    Perhaps someone could explain what section 287(c) of the patent law (reproduced below) means. It appears that what PabPat is arguing for has been the law for quite a while, at least for any patents having an effective filing date since September 30, 1996, according to http://straylight.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode35/usc_sec_35 _00000287----000-.html. (I suppose, if patents are considered private property, the fifth amendment would have prohibited the taking of previously granted patent rights from patent owners for public use, without "just compensatation.")

    287. Limitation on damages and other remedies; marking and notice

    ...(c)

    (1) With respect to a medical practitioner's performance of a medical activity that constitutes an infringement under section 271 (a) or (b) of this title, the provisions of sections 281 [remedy for infringement of patent], 283 [injunction], 284 [damages], and 285 [attorneys fees] of this title shall not apply against the medical practitioner or against a related health care entity with respect to such medical activity.

    (2) For the purposes of this subsection:

    (A) the term "medical activity" means the performance of a medical or surgical procedure on a body, but shall not include

    (i) the use of a patented machine, manufacture, or composition of matter in violation of such patent,

    (ii) the practice of a patented use of a composition of matter in violation of such patent, or

    (iii) the practice of a process in violation of a biotechnology patent.

    (B) the term "medical practitioner" means any natural person who is licensed by a State to provide the medical activity described in subsection (c)(1) or who is acting under the direction of such person in the performance of the medical activity.

    (C) the term "related health care entity" shall mean an entity with which a medical practitioner has a professional affiliation under which the medical practitioner performs the medical activity, including but not limited to a nursing home, hospital, university, medical school, health maintenance organization, group medical practice, or a medical clinic.

    (D) the term "professional affiliation" shall mean staff privileges, medical staff membership, employment or contractual relationship, partnership or ownership interest, academic appointment, or other affiliation under which a medical practitioner provides the medical activity on behalf of, or in association with, the health care entity.

    (E) the term "body" shall mean a human body, organ or cadaver, or a nonhuman animal used in medical research or instruction directly relating to the treatment of humans.

    (F) the term "patented use of a composition of matter" does not include a claim for a method of performing a medical or surgical procedure on a body that recites the use of a composition of matter where the use of that composition of matter does not directly contribute to achievement of the objective of the claimed method.

    (G) the term "State" shall mean any state [1] or territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

    (3) This subsection does not apply to the activities of any person, or employee or agent of such person (regardless of whether such person is a tax exempt organization under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code), who is engaged in the commercial development, manufacture, sale, importation, or distribution of a machine, manufacture, or composition of matter or the provision of pharmacy or clinical laboratory services (other than clinical laboratory services provided in a physician's office), where such activities are:

    (A) directly related to the commercial development, manufacture, sale, importation, or distribution of a machine, manufacture, or composition of matter or the provision of pharmacy or clinical laboratory services (other than clinical laboratory services provided in a physician's office), and

    (B) regulated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the Public Health Service Act, or the Clinical Laboratories Improvement Act.

    (4) This subsection shall not apply to any patent issued based on an application the earliest effective filing date of which is prior to September 30, 1996.

    [emphasis added]

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Now They're Patenting Medical Facts? - Oh, Brother
    Authored by: gbl on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 07:18 AM EST
    Anybody know a staff writer on ER?

    It's the kind of catch22 they would like - they even have a sleazy ambulance
    chasing lawyer character that could be used.



    ---
    If you love some code, set it free.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Now They're Patenting Medical Facts? - Oh, Brother
    Authored by: pfusco on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 08:40 AM EST
    This just makes me want to puke.

    ---
    only the soul matters in the end

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    This is awesome!!
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 08:56 AM EST
    Why? Because I hold the patent on the common cold and influenza (A and B).
    Therefore any of you reading this with the sniffles please send me some money
    and I will not sue you.

    I also hold the patent for photosynthesis, so once again, any of you out there
    using oxygen from trees and plants that created the oxygen from photosynthesis
    owe me money as well (you know this was meant as a joke, but this is not far
    from what SCO is doing....)

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Corrections here...
    Authored by: ansak on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:20 AM EST
    You can see how passionate this gets people. There's no corrections thread on
    this page.

    And it's needed for one thing at least: The very last link on the page is broken
    because there is a trailing period inside the HREF property of the anchor tag.

    cheers...ank

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Legal Arguments Infringe
    Authored by: overshoot on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:27 AM EST
    It certainly seems to me that PUBPAT is infringing the patentholder's rights by
    filing court documents and making public statements discussing the relationship
    in question (I won't be more specific in order to not myself infringe.)

    In fact, I don't see how the Court can discuss the question without itself
    infringing the rights of the patentholder. If I were the patentholder, I would
    move for an injunction against the Defense mentioning the subject in their
    submissions to the Court.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    How did this patent survive at all?
    Authored by: Latesigner on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 09:53 AM EST
    "Lower courts ruled that doctors who use or discuss the relationship
    between B12 or folic acid and homocysteine committed illegal patent infringement
    and the Supreme Court is now deciding whether to hear an appeal of the
    case."

    The lower courts are suppose to know patent law so why wasn't this case killed
    instantly?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Now They're Patenting Medical Facts? - Oh, Brother
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 10:21 AM EST
    Patient: Doctor, do cigarettes cause cancer?

    Doctor: I'm sorry, I cannot discuss that, the tobacco industries have a patent
    on that information.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Now They're Patenting Medical Facts? - Oh, Brother
    Authored by: Nick Bridge on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 10:56 AM EST
    I am going to file for:
    A method by which increasing the blood serum ethanol level produces a correlated
    increase in inebriation.

    Then anyone wanting to get drunk can buy a license from me first!

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Maybe we should be carefull
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 11:14 AM EST
    As we are discussing this patent maybe we are infringing it ourselves. :)

    Tufty

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    • No....... - Authored by: tiger99 on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 04:06 PM EST
      • Except - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 03:38 PM EST
    Law to make vitamins declared a drug
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 11:36 AM EST
    Unfortunately I don't have the links at my fingertips, but
    according to one of my sources, an European
    drug or psych organization is making strides to make
    vitamins declared a drug in Europe, thus putting the
    control of vitamins under the drug industry.

    Vitamins would also have to be prescribed. Which is
    interesting as student doctors only receive an average of
    4 hours education on vitamins PER YEAR.

    According to my source the US is looking at aligning
    themselves with this organization and do the same here in
    the US in June/July.

    The result would be vitamins at such a high price, that
    few could afford them. Drugs, of course would be cheaper
    and promoted as better.

    This medical law aligns with that organization's goal, to
    stop the use of vitamins.

    Obviously more research is needed. For one I'm going to
    dig up my source and get the specifics again.

    Steve Szmidt

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Patent biological acts for mammal and non mammal reproduction
    Authored by: DigiGato on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 12:01 PM EST
    First of all, I'd like to apologize to anyone who thinks the title is rude (my
    first idea was: Patent sexual iontercourse method) but, after reading the post,
    it is offensive that the US Patent System agrees to even think such things can
    be patentable.

    Now, imagine for a second, that some wise guy goes to the patent office and
    declares a patent on: ideas, methods, positions and derivatives on sexual
    intercourse (without specifically implying humans), that would lead to law suits
    to be performed on humans, dolphins, squirrels, rabbits and so for... why?
    because since "a concept, method or idea" can be patentable...

    It is like if someone patents "breathing methods" or "eye
    movement"... that way a person could sue a new born child before even get
    its birth certificate...

    It is sad... It is absurd... and it depresses me.. :(

    DigiGato... Meow!

    ---
    DigiGato
    --------
    Creating my Tux Penguin Igloo in Mexico City, while drinking margaritas.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Now They're Patenting Medical Facts? - Oh, Brother
    Authored by: Ninthwave on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 12:37 PM EST

    This isn't knew and it extends to many areas of biology.

    Old article

    This follow up mentions that RiceTec lost the trademark but the list of traditional dicoveries being taken from third world countries and into the safety and labels of modern agriculture was scarey.

    Follow Up

    It seems that after the gene modification became voque so did the patenting and trademarking of historical foods. A main target were third world nations. And one of the threats was the inability for them to ship their product under the name it had stood for centuries. But underlying it was the belief that by finding a gene sequence, you owned that sequence. This was forced into the concept that you could own the method of isolating the sequence or the method of injecting the sequence into a new host. But large scale damage was done to the food industry. Large scale damage is being done to the medical industry and large scale damage is being done to the software industry with these patent, trademark and general grab bag IP concepts.

    I am a capatilist, but science should sit outside of capatilism, as the wheel of history has shown, losing knowledge is devistating for the human race. Knowledge tied to one goverment or political-economic system is dangerous, the fall of Egypt, Greece, Rome, Persia and many cultures that have existed all caused periods of lost and refound knowledge. We could be setting ourselves up for the same. But at the end of the day the value has to be put on is it the economics of the here and now that matter or the social value of an enlightened scientific approach to sharing knowledge in the human race? There could be a balance in there, but where the race is going, greed is the moral of the western political economic system, it drives it all. When it cracks lets pray that some of us have saved data enough that the next dark ages are not as bleak or long, as the last.

    ---
    I was, I am, I will be.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    health and stress
    Authored by: pyrite on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 01:12 PM EST
    speaking of health... the important thing is to relax, remain calm, and adapt.
    Think positive thoughts... relax... grace under pressure...

    I don't need those patented drugs... I can do without pharmaceuticals... I can
    live a healthy life by doing things that my ancestors have done for millions of
    years...



    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Now They're Patenting Medical Facts? - Oh, Brother
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 01:43 PM EST
    I vote we boycott the person/group who patented this "medical fact".
    We also should have a good stiff talk with the patent office for allowing this
    in the first place.

    This is beyond stupid.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    This is actaully GOOD!
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:43 PM EST
    Why? Because the more these types of patent abuse are spotlighted, the more
    pressure will build to fix the patent system itself.

    One of the most important things is to raise awareness of a problem. Once that's
    done, fixing it is a lot easier.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    This sentence is disturbing
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 29 2005 @ 03:52 PM EST
    Patent 4,940,658 has this sentence in it:

    The research leading to this invention was partially funded by grants from the
    U.S. government.

    If someone uses public funds for research leading to a patent, shouldn't the
    patent be public? Or at least to some degree?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    We need lobbyists
    Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 01:35 PM EST
    We need to reach out to doctors and medical associations to warn them and to get
    their lobbyists pushing for patent reform. We need to warn the public that
    their medical bills and health insurance costs will skyrocket without patent
    reform. It's too easy for politicians to ignore programmers and engineers. We
    need a louder, more powerful, better funded voice.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    I suppose Marmite and Vegemite infringe the patent then!
    Authored by: cybervegan on Wednesday, March 30 2005 @ 04:30 PM EST
    B12 is one of those "hard to get" vitamins on a vegan diet.

    It is mostly found in meat, often due to bacterial breakdown, which is how
    meat-eaters get theirs, but is not present in many vegetable sources.

    Yeast extract contains it, though, so most vegans eat at least some of it, or
    take vitamin supplements instead. In vegan circles, if someone is feeling
    "off colour" we might ask "have you had your Marmite
    recently?"

    So I suppose we all infringe this patent. Sounds like civil disobedience to me!
    I must remember to never suggest this to another vegan again...

    Whatever next? They'll be patenting computer programs soon! (Guess I blinked
    and missed it)... :-D

    regards,
    -cybervegan

    ---
    Software source code is a bit like underwear - you only want to show it off in
    public if it's clean and tidy. Refusal could be due to embarrassment or shame...

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Another notorious medical patent
    Authored by: CnocNaGortini on Thursday, March 31 2005 @ 12:16 PM EST

    Sorry about taking so long to get this entered... another notorious medical patent is on the use of certain genetic tests for the detection of risk of inherited breast cancer: see http://www.abreastinth ewest.ca/medical2.cfm?Num=32 or http://www.cptech.org/ip /health/firm/myriad.html for details.

    Short description (from second page listed above): a Utah-based company, Myriad Genetics, has received patents for two genes, BRCA-1 and BRCA-2, used to perform a cancer screening tests. According to the firm's SEC Form 10-K, "BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 appear to be responsible for approximately 84% of the early onset hereditary breast cancer and approximately 90% of hereditary ovarian cancer." Myriad has licensed the rights to perform these tests to about a dozen laboratories in exchange for very high royalties on each test performed. (The federal government brokered a deal to pay lower royalties when the genes are used by NCI and NIH-sponsored research institutions and investigators.) Myriad is currently trying to enforce patents on the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 genes in Europe and Canada, which is has led to a lot of controversy in their public health communities because this would raise the price of testing for cancer considerably.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

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